“These findings fall in line with a whole slew of research from humans and animals showing that somewhere between 2-5 seconds is the longest window of what we can perceive as an independent event – a moment. Anything longer, or separated by a longer window, is perceived by us as a seperate occurence – close in time, but distinct.”
When we know something is coming, our autonomic system prepares us about 3 seconds ahead of time, which makes sense because that’s about how long our vagal nervous system takes to alter our heart rate and breathing. The cool thing about this study is that it extends our knowledge about this time-window to social interactions and not simply to individual experiences. Apparently, our own moment-clock affects the way we interact with others (ever have one of those really long awkward hugs?)
We also heard that speed daters, make their decisions in 3 seconds — unconsciously.